“We forget how painfully dim the world was before electricity…open your refrigerator door and you summon forth more light than the total amount enjoyed by most households in the 18th century.”
– Bill Bryson
That’s something to reflect on the next time you replace a light bulb in a fixture or appliance. Or arrange a decadent candlescape for a dinner party for eight (or a bubble bath for two.)
Stockholm Iron Lantern by Bobo Intriguing Objects
All sorts of light bulbs went off for me yesterday when I turned off my morning alarm and turned on NPR to hear Renee Montagne’s interview with Bill Bryson on his new book. At Home: A Short History of Private Life represents Bryson’s challenge to himself to “write a history of the world without leaving home.”
Make the most out of your backyard or patio by turning it into a cozy retreat perfect for relaxing (and daydreaming).
Cold weather has disappeared, but that doesn’t mean your fireplace has to gather dust. Here are some decorating tips for making your fireplace the focal point of the room even when there’s no fire.
Arrange candles in the hearth for the fireplace glow without the blazing fire.
You don’t have to take wood out of the fireplace entirely. Arrange driftwood for a beachy, natural touch.
Put empty flower pots in your fireplace for a springtime flair.
I’m a major bookworm, but have little space to house my immense book collection. I love this idea of using the fireplace as book storage.
Greenery or spring floral arrangements in vases and urns brighten up an unused fireplace. These pure white ceramic ones from West Elm would be great in front of the hearth.
If your bedroom fireplace remains fireless, even in the winter months, consider turning it into a headboard.
Check out this HGTV.com photo gallery for more warm-weather fireplace ideas and inspiration.
If you’re a makeover show aficionado, you know there are two things you can expect designers to do: ditch the ceiling fan (or at least upgrade to a nicer one) and re-skin an outdated fireplace (the horrors of brass!).
Well, with temps dipping into the teens and snow falling outside here in the Northeast, a ceiling fan isn’t on my mind today, but fireplaces definitely are. My rental doesn’t have a cozy hearth (sigh), but to battle my mid-winter doldrums, I decided to scope out some heartwarming inspirations here on the HGTV site and Rate My Space (click on the images to see the gallery/articles):
And one outdoor idea for our (lucky) pals in warmer climes:
Of course, the greenie in me wants to remind you that a fireplace isn’t always very eco-friendly. But if you like the luxury, be mindful of your fuel. Whenever I hijack a pal’s hearth, I use Duraflame, a pressed log made with renewable, non-toxic wax and wood scraps (sawdust and shavings), or Java-Logs, the coffee firelog. Both burn longer than traditional wood, too.
And here are some ideas from our sister site, Ecologue.com, about greening up your fireplace. Plus, a chic-and-simple homemade fire pit, perfect for when the temperatures start rising again.